We drove the Volvo V40 Cross Country a couple of years back and came out impressed with the kind of uniqueness and fun it offers. It is a delight to drive with its well sorted dynamics and engine. The rugged crossover inspired appearance and the swoopy new Scandinavian design language gives it a distinct attitude. The Cross Country instantly became a popular Volvo product in India. Now the Swedish automaker has launched the regular version of the hatchback. It is supposed to be more sporty and youthful and that is what we explore this time around with the new V40 R-Design
EXTERIORS AND STYLE
A quick peek at the V40’s front end is enough for you to notice what changed with the facelift. First, the hatchback gained a new set of headlamps. These are about the same shape and size as the previous units, but feature Volvo’s new “Thor’s Hammer” signature LED lighting. This lighting pattern debuted on the XC90 and found its way on the S90 and V90, which makes the V40 the fourth Volvo, and first model outside the new 90 Series, to use it. Second, Volvo replaced the previous grille that had three horizontal slats with a new one that employs 21 thinner vertical bars. This feature is also borrowed from the S90 and gives the hatchback a more premium appearance. The “Iron Mark” emblem also received a mild facelift.
Third, the V40 received five new exterior colors. There’s Amazon Blue and Denim Blue, which are completely new for Volvo, and Bursting Blue, Mussel Blue, and Luminous Sand, which were borrowed from other models. And yes, four of the five new colors are different versions of blue. The folks over at Volvo must really dig blue…
Finally, the V40 also gained the “rank marks” that were first introduced on the XC90 to differentiate trims and versions and eight new wheel designs for the V40, R-Design and V40 Cross Country models.
Not a lot has changed, but it’s more than enough for a vehicle that has only four years on the market. Not to mention that the V40 is on the pretty side of the hatchback market.
INTERIORS AND SPACE
The interiors of the V40 gets black leather upholstery and this does look a bit dull, especially after being overwhelmed by the exterior styling. The front seats have been carved by an artist and that is the only continuation that the V40 has with the exceedingly elegant exterior design. The buttons and controls are ergonomically sized, and then one can change the instrument panel colours for different moods. Switching to different modes doesn’t change the instrument panel colours. There is a Comfort, Eco and Sport theme designed instrument binnacles.
The centre console has a neatly following design however there are a lot of buttons on it. The steering wheel is chunky and good to grip. There inserts of brushed aluminium on the dashboard, other than that it is majorly black interiors. There mentions of R-Design inside as well and there are very tasteful without being loud. The centre screen is very small in size and we wish it were a bit larger. There is no reverse parking camera, and there are only sensors all around the car to park it.
The space that the Volvo V40 offers is good especially for the front row. There is sufficient back, thigh and side support by the front seats with enough headroom and legroom for tall people. The rear row is fine when it comes to seating for two, however the thigh support could have been better.
The V40 has been made for those who are under 30, and their family owns multiple luxury cars. The boot too is large enough to hold three to four of their LV suitcases. Ideal pick for them to take it as a weekend getaway with friends. If they are driving in city and wish to park, there is the park assist. With the help of sensors, it parks the hatchback and the driver just has to brake whenever it is required.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
The 2.0-litre five cylinder motor may have been replaced by a newer one globally, but its 150 horses and 350Nm torque still have enough poke to keep you smiling all the way. The gearbox struggles a bit and takes a little time in transferring that nice surge of power down to the wheels, but it is a matter of getting used to its delivery characteristics. Stick her into sport mode and watch that grin go wide on the face. Unlike in the regular mode where she shifts early, thereby making the response a bit hesitant, the sport mode quickens things up and she holds onto the revs all the way to the redline. In-fact, the sport mode is so good, that you’ll find yourself reaching out for those non-existent paddle shifters every time you reach out to nudge the gear lever up or down.
The V40 is a proper sub-10 second car and what’s admirable is that she’ll happily return about 13/14 kilometres to the litre under regular conditions. Heavy throttle sessions see this figure drop down to about 11 kilometres, which is still respectable, give the performance and driving involvement on offer.
RIDE AND HANDLING
Like the S60 and XC60 R-Design the V40 R-Design gets stiffer strut braces that reduce body roll and help track your desired line into corners. The steering doesn’t offer much feedback but stability is impressive at high triple digit speeds. Brakes are strong too as is grip from the 225/45 R17 Michelins. The ride quality however isn’t supple enough. Even slightly broken patches filter in and the larger ones need to be negotiated gingerly. The V40 doesn’t get the mix between low and high speed ride well enough. The highly comfortable seats help to an extent but a suppler ride could have made this a better city car.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
The V40 is the class benchmark for safety. As well as the usual array of airbags and electronic driver aids, the V40 has a City Safety system that automatically applies the brakes if you get too close to the vehicle in front. Volvo has also fitted an external airbag that pops out from under the bonnet to cover the windscreen and front pillars if sensors detect a collision with a pedestrian.
These extra features helped the car achieve a maximum five-star crash test rating from Euro NCAP. The only disappointment is that you can’t add rear side airbags, which are available on some rivals, including the VW Golf. Security kit includes an engine immobiliser and an alarm, and security experts Thatcham rate the V40 highly for resisting theft and break-in.
Most certainly, this is a seriously likeable car. Just the thought of it sitting there in my garage would put a big silly smile on my face. There’s also Volvo’s legendary safety to consider and the V40 packs an army of airbags as well as the laser based city safety system that can automatically brake to avoid an accident. But does it make for good value for money? Most Volvos do and they’re generally priced lower than the Germans. Not so here.
Volvo V40 D3 Kinetic Diesel Ex-showroom Price is 27,67,005/- and On Road Price is 32,64,018/- in New Delhi. Volvo V40 D3 Kinetic Diesel comes in 8 colours, namely Ice White,Rebel Blue,Bright Silver Metallic,Inscription Electric Silver Metallic,Caspian Blue Metallic,Osmium Grey Metallic,Passion Red,Black Sapphire Metallic.